Last week I completed a paper that will be submitted to the Government that strongly recommends against shark finning in Sabah. Some of you who are conservation-minded will know that there is a large ground swell of sentiment around the world to ban shark hunting because of the really steep decline in the number of sharks globally. For us in Sabah, shark fisheries is only about 2% of the total fisheries production and a UMS economist have calculated that the economic loss if we are to ban shark fishing is only about RM10 million. Compared this to the tourism reciepts (2010) of RM192 million accrued from more than 42,000 SCUBA divers who visited Sabah.
Consider this: More than 25% of all species of pelagic sharks, 35% of epipelagic species, and over half of large, oceanic-pelagic sharks are classified as threatened in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. According to TRAFFIC (a global NGO maintaining a wildlife trade monitoring network), and the Pew Environment Group, in a 2011 report, The Future of Sharks: A Review of Action and Inaction, 30 per cent of shark species now threatened or near threatened with extinction.
In Four Fish, Paul Greenberg did not talk about sharks but he chose 4 commercially significant fish—salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna—and relates where each stands at this critical moment in time. He talks about how we can manage these fisheries stocks in order that we may continue to enjoy these seafood while protecting these fish populations.